And finally PART 3 which wraps up the summer tomato mini-series. Yup, it’s about time ! This time, the “freshest hand-crushed & no-cook heirloom tomato sauce and/or spread” (see the last 2 posts here & here) is strained to its maximum to utterly become a chunky "spread” that is used as a topping for the picnic-style foccacia (in Italian) or fougasse (in French) or lagana (in Greek) flatbread.
The bread is square, thicker and softer than a typical pizza (unless it’s Sicilian “sfincione”). My version is a pale-orange colored leavened flatbread dough that is actually made with the 2 tomato waters strained from the solids. The 1stwater is from straining the hand-crushed tomatoes to initially separate the liquids from the solids and the 2ndwater is from after straining the infused sauce solids with the complementary subtle flavors of different herbs and fronds, sliced vegetables, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt & sugar.
Very simple toppings are added after the 2 rises of the dough and before baking. There’s the tomato sauce that has become a denser and thicker spread, some added oregano or other summery dried herbs and some freshly-grated hard cheeses. It’s a non-fussy, simple and compact flatbread that’s easy to pack, easy to carry and easy to eat away from home.
You may be wondering why I didn’t just add the tomato sauce spread on top after baking the focaccia for a fresher end result ? Of course you could do that way instead if you’re eating it at home straight out of the oven or your kitchen, but for a picnic and for packing and travelling purposes, everything would slip and slide off and make a mess. The baking of the toppings on the bread welds everything together and bypasses the inevitable clean-up right after. To be honest, it’s better eaten at room-temperature as opposed to hot, because it still is or it was or it will be HOT again out there soon.. You know I love 30°C-35°C temperatures and I’m hoping for a nice return of an “Indian summer”.
Anyways, it”s a very short story because I’m typing this up (and translating it) a few hours before leaving the house to go to the airport and flying overseas to escape the doomed return of most of the vacationers flocking back to the city probably this weekend !
I’ll see them (and all of you) in September.
May your timely return to regular life, work and/or school be serene and stress-free . . . :)